Kathryn Stott
pianist

reviews

British pianist Kathryn Stott returns to Kennedy Center
"Washington audiences had a chance to hear the British pianist Kathryn Stott four years ago when — thanks to the Washington Performing Arts Society— she accompanied cellist Yo-Yo Ma in the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. Stott returned to the Kennedy Center on Saturday afternoon, but this time for a solo recital in the more intimate Terrace Theater, where, with no distracting superstars cluttering the stage, she proved to be an extraordinarily interesting and incisive interpreter in her own right. Stott is an unabashed musical Francophile and devoted much of the afternoon to impressionistic works by Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Gabriel Fauré— music full of evanescent colors and shimmering, elusive light. Her playing was, as you might expect, luminous and delicately shaded — her technique is superb, and she’s a master of subtle emotions and telling details — but was never merely atmospheric. Stott stayed refreshingly clear-eyed even in the depths of Debussy’s darkly gorgeous Nocturne in D-flat, and Ravel’s “Sonatine” radiated intelligence, power and playful logic. Cesar Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue was less of a pleasure; it’s a rather stern and self-important work which, coming on Debussy’s dreamy heels, felt oddly like a rebuke. Stott shifted into higher gear in the second half of the program with a riveting account of Alberto Ginastera’s Sonata No. 1, Op. 22, a wildly colorful piece of early Latin modernism. Heitor Villa-Lobos’s “Valsa da Dor” lent a touch of poignancy to the program, but it was “Relent” by British composer Graham Fitkin that stole the show. Commissioned by Stott in 2000, this driving, insistent, almost physical piece charges out of the gate and never looks back: a high-octane performance from one of the most impressive pianists heard here in years. " (Stephen Brookes, Washington Post December 4)

"Her technical prowess and obvious affection for Fauré is legendary." (The Times)

"She is consistently enjoyable and versatile, always judicious and never reckless, in her choice of repertoire." (The Strait Times)

"The orchestra brought Kathryn Stott as the soloist in Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto... Stott ruled over the music with precision and refinement and with the power of a hurricane in the last movement, accompanied by the the orchestra in a solid and at the same time flamboyant way." (Rotterdams Dagblad)

"Grieg's opus 16 however made the atmosphere change as if by magic. The old warhorse has rarely put in an appearance more fresh and live than yesterday night. Kathryn Stott gave a magnificent performance... How striking was the rhythmical vitality of the English pianist in combination with her beautiful tone over the whole range of the keyboard. An excellent start to the spectacular series "Famous Orchestras" in Nijmegen." (Gelders Dagblad)

"Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major K467 easily outdid that with a magical solo performance from Kathryn Stott. The slimmed-down orchestra sounded noticeably fresh as it matched the effortless legato of Kathryn Stott's runs in the first movement with a silkiness of their own. Even in the slow movement her masterful nudging at the rhythmic undercurrent allowed her to toy with the music and to radiate her own enjoyment." (The Herald)

"Vanska's skill as a master symphonic conductor is plain to see from the way he opens and closes movements. Where he went for the bigger structure, pianist Kathryn Stott was busy rooting about every corner of her part looking for gems. Stott is a playful and lyrical performer who played hide-and-seek with the thematic material, dangling sparkling trills and rapid right-hand figures one moment and then thumping the music from behind with a piston-like left hand the next." (The Scotsman)

"The highspot of the concert was the world premiere of Graham Fitkin's new double concerto, named Circuit. Played by Kathryn Stott and Noriko Ogawa, who are fabulous duettists, its juxtapositions of motoric hyperactivity and sweet serenity, and a final, rip-roaring climax, were exhilarating in the extreme." (Manchester Evening News)

"Generosity of spirit, too, is characteristic of Kathryn Stott's exhausting achievement. How thrilled Fauré would have been by the sheer immediacy of her responses. Writing of a more customary circumspection he said, 'It always gives me great pleasure to hear myself played with verve. On the pretext of getting involved... people play me as if the blinds were down.' Time and again Stott throws convention to the winds, and although it would be surprising if all her performances were consistent successes, disappointments are rare. The greater the music the greater Kathryn Stott's sense of adventure and spiritual quest. A true and dedicated Francophile (though with an exceptionally wide repertoire) she is clearly among the more stylish and intriguing of all young pianists. Hopefully complete cycles of Debussy and Ravel will follow." (Gramophone)

"Throughout the disc Kathryn Stott is at her sparkling and subtle best, with ebullient gaiety in the 'Scherzo-valse', fragile delicacy in the gently 'Sous bois', rhythmic gusto in the 'Danse villageoise', quiet lyricism in 'Idylle' and wistful charm in 'Feuille d'album': there is freshness and imaginative nuance everywhere. This is an immensely enjoyable disc." (Gramophone)

"In the Ballade, Kathryn Stott reinforces her position as one of the finest Fauré interpreters of her generation." (BBC Music Magazine)

"Maxwell Davies's Piano Concerto has not had to wait long to be recorded. At its first performance it was warmly received and this excellent disc confirms that initial favourable verdict. It is on a big scale and the writing for the soloist - Kathryn Stott - is virtuosic but lyrical, too, as befits music dedicated to a notable exponent of Fauré." (Sunday Telegraph)

She plays wonderfully, allowing her music fluidity and space; her virtuoso outpourings are formidable. (The Daily Telegraph)

"Kathryn Stott, ever enterprising in her choice of repertoire, does ample justice to Foulds's more questing experimental pieces. Her performances throughout are impeccable, and recorded sound is beautifully atmospheric." (Gramophone)

"It's a delicately perfumed, mysterious, exotic hour of pianistic warmth and gentle beauty, and Kathryn Stott is the perfect guide - revealing all Koechlin's colours without ever rushing him, or over-exerting herself in his delicate structures." (BBC Classical Review)

"Kathryn Stott of England proves a match for Ma in technique and spirit." (Berkshire Eagle)

"...in her choice Stott not only shows taste but is unsparing in the artistry she brings to her performance, whether the mixed poetry and brilliance of Preludio en la noche or Ante El Escorial, the intriguing rhythm of the Danza de los nanigos (secret-society members) and Danza Lucumi, the charm of Bellflower, the pearly flueny of the Vals arabesque, the ear-tickling staccato Conga de media noche, her sparkling octave-work in the Danza negra and Y la negra bailaba, or the broad melodiousness of La Habanera.
With its delicacy, sensitivity to tonal colour and rubato and sometimes coquettishly teasing spirit, Stott's playing gives evidence of a real affection for this attractive but undemanding music." (Gramophone)

"Scott plays all this splendid stuff with affection and artistry - but more important, the sense of style - it demands, thus creating a notable addition to her already very successful collaboration with BIS." (International Record Review)

"Kathryn Stott is best known for her superb recordings of French music, especially Fauré, but she has recorded a fair amount of more contemporary music as well. I don't have anything to compare with this, and I don't have the scores, but I can't imagine these pieces better played. She offers them with a strong sense of forward movement, flexible rhythms, elegant phrasing, and a beautiful touch. Schulhoff's work isn't often heard, and with Stott in control, it's very attractive." (American Record Guide)

"Here, as in the uncommonly cogent and beguiling performance of Chopin's Cello Sonata that followed, Stott's pianism was especially captivating. The art captured in her classic recordings of Gabriel Fauré - marked by clarity of texture, precise weighting of chords and refinement of color - served the music admirably. She barely glanced at her duo partner, but she and Mørk enjoyed a nonvisual connection that somehow made for near-perfect unanimity - not the least of the marvels of this unforgettable concert." (The Saint Paul Star Tribune)

"Stott's qualities complemented the exuberant virtuosity of Italian saxophonist Federico Mondelci perfectly, their remarkably tight ensemble revealing the expressivity and even humour within Denisov's daunting Sonata." (Birmingham Post)

"Mondelci and Stott are a real team, where the input of both musicians is equally important. Stott's virtuosity gives Mondelci total freedom... their recital was rewarded with a standing ovation." (Orivesi Festival, Finland)

"Stott, such an excellent soulmate for Ma, tossed the rhythms out of her piano in bold, bright handfuls." (Times)

"Is there a more enjoyable classical performer to watch than cellist Yo-Yo Ma?... It bears mentioning that this was as much a piano recital as a cello one... she handled her extensive demands with equal parts authority, sensitivity and bravura." (Newsday)

"The fine British pianist Kathryn Stott was every bit Ma's equal, playing the Debussy, especially, with striking individuality." (Washington Post)

"One other feather in Jansen's cap: she isn't afraid to team up with a pianist who gives as much to the music, physically and emotionally, as she does. Kathryn Stott's characterful contributions ensured that all three of these works were true dialogues between equals." (The Times)

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© kathryn stott 2008